Teen faces arrest for taking pipe bomb to school

November 20, 2012
A house on River Street in Lower Speers where Charleroi police seized two pipe bombs allegedly made by a Charleroi Area High School senior - Scott Beveridge / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

CHARLEROI – A Charleroi Area High School student is facing arrest over accusations he took a pipe bomb to the school campus last week.

The school district’s police chief said Tuesday he likely will file charges Monday against Ryan Pfrogner, 18, after investigators seized two small pipe bombs Tuesday from the teenager’s home at 136 River St. in Lower Speers.

“There were no threats made. We are confident he gave us everything,” said school district police Chief Michael Kresich. “We went through the entire house.”

He said the teenager was released into the custody of his parents after being questioned Tuesday at the high school.

Kresich said the Allegheny County Bomb Squad swept the high school Monday night and found nothing after police received an anonymous tip from a parent that a student had taken a pipe bomb to the building in Fallowfield Township.

Pfrogner’s name surfaced, and he confessed to making the bombs out of curiosity with PVC pipe, gunpowder and fuses, police said.

“He’s a very intelligent kid,” Kresich said.

Pfrogner told investigators that he brought a pipe bomb to school Friday by mistake and left it in his car.

Kresich said the teen was remorseful.

He faces adult felony charges, which possibly will be sent via summons, Kresich said.

The charges were expected to include bringing a weapon to school, reckless endangerment and causing or risking a catastrophe. Kresich said he needed to research the crimes code to determine what type of bomb-making charges should be filed in the case.

He said the bomb squad determined the devices seized from Pfrogner’s residence had the potential to cause a death and would have done considerable damage to his house had one of them exploded.

Washington County District Attorney Gene Vittone said Tuesday he had not been briefed on the case.

Charleroi Superintendent Brad Ferko said the district took immediate disciplinary action against the student, without revealing the nature of the punishment.

Ferko said there are a lot of false rumors circulating, including one that the student made the pipe bombs in chemistry class.

“There was nothing ever in this building,” he said.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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